6th Graders Asked to Compare Hitler & Bush in Outrageous School Assignment

A middle school teacher in Washington, DC, made a very poor judgment call recently by assigning some homework asking students to compare President George W. Bush to Adolf Hitler. Sixth graders at McKinley Middle School were asked to complete a Venn diagram comparing and contrasting the two leaders, using the example, "Both men abused their powers."

Whoa. Hold up a second. There is so much wrong with this assignment that it's hard to know where to begin.


First off, why are they being asked to compare W. to Hitler? The project apparently stemmed from a "war and peace" section in the curriculum, but it seems to me that if you were going to add any educational value, you'd ask the kids to Venn diagram Hitler with either Franklin D. Roosevelt or Harry Truman -- the two U.S. presidents who actually served while the Third Reich was in power.

Second, what is with that prompt that they both abused their powers? That is clearly an opinion. And even if it could be "proven" that Bush did abuse his powers, let's say by waterboarding terrorists (to gain valuable information that saved American lives, but whatevs), how is that the same as slaughtering six million innocent Jews?

You know who could be compared to Hitler? Joseph Stalin, Osama bin Laden, Emperor Hirohito, Ivan the Terrible, etc. You know who should never be likened to Hitler? United States presidents. Just no.

The school district has apologized after at least one parent (only one??) complained that the assignment showed "a certain lack of respect for the office of the president." In a statement, they wrote:

This week, a DCPS teacher created a worksheet to assign as homework which asked students to compare and contrast President George W. Bush and Adolf Hitler, after reading two texts. No DCPS curriculum materials suggest in any way that teachers should compare the texts in this manner or compare Hitler to any other individual. One text, "Fighting Hitler -- A Holocaust Story" is part of the current suggested materials. The text about President Bush is not suggested as part of the current year's curriculum, but was included last year in a separate unit. The teacher deeply regrets this mistake, and any suggestion to malign the presidency or make any comparison in this egregious way.

Ugh. Here's the actual assignment, because seeing is believing.

Do you think this is an unfair or disrespectful assignment for schoolkids?


Image via Michael/Flickr

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